Endowed By Their Creator
By: Jim O'Brien
This July 4th. Our country will celebrate the day our country was founded. Our fathers, Lincoln stated at Gettysburg, brought forth a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
The act of declaring this to the world, said Lincoln, made us a new nation that was unique among all nations on earth. It made the thirteen colonies a free and independent country.
What makes a nation "independent" and what are we independent of? No other country contributes so much aid to other peoples. No other nation has gone to war to free men from slavery-so we are not independent of the needs and oppressions of our fellow man.
What other nation does not require subservience from the liberated territory? Do you remember Granada? When a communist coup assassinated the President and began construction of an airport to create a Soviet/Cuban military stronghold, President Reagan sent troops to free the people. Or more recently, when Kuwait was invaded by a power crazed Saddam Hussein? Both were liberated by America, yet neither was colonized.
The founding principle of America is that all men have natural rights derived from a higher moral order upon which laws depend. The founders based their claim for freedom on a fervent belief that God had created all men equal. They recognized the clear evidence of God in the natural order of the universe. So the phrase "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God" were used to express this truth with the greatest clarity and succinctness.
These great men appealed to the logic of an orderly universe. They expressed faith that the evidence was clear to any person with a rational mind that this earth is a product of a thoughtful Creator who has a purpose and divine will for man. Man's ability to act in concert with the Creator's will meant that he must be free. Man must be independent of the dominion of other men in order to place the will of the Creator as the highest priority.
The first citizens were motivated to fight for freedom by a sincere belief that "our rights come from God." They had to reach higher than human government to find the basis for freedom because no human government allowed it.
After all, what was England's interest in America? Simply stated, it was taxation and the potential of greater wealth for the King. Americans paid taxes to England. In fact, they were generous in their contributions. But the greed of King George III was unlimited. He wanted complete power to take as much as he desired.
To support his claim, he invoked the principle of the Divine Right of Kings to Rule. In the 18th Century world, even Christians believed that a King was empowered by God to rule and therefore accountable to no man.
The question for America was-do we have the right to defend ourselves against one man who is abusing the entire nation? And Americans concluded that our rights come from God, therefore these rights could not be removed, even by the King.
Consider for a moment that if our rights do not come from God, this country has no basis for existence.
It also meant balancing two concepts together. On the one hand was the divine right of rulers and on the other was "government by the consent of the governed."
But the question still remained, WHO is God? If creation is a universal declaration demonstrating God's plan to make man free, where are His people? In other words, why are so many nations enslaved to tyrants?
Of all the nations that have existed since Adam walked this earth, a mere handful can make a legitimate claim to be free.
When God performed a miracle to bring His people out of slavery to Egypt, it was the most staggering miracle the world had seen. The message was undeniable that THIS God was the God of FREE people.
The miraculous pilgrimage of over three million people into the Promised Land is unparalleled. The nation of Israel was first established according to instructions from God, but there was one glaring omission. There was no King!
What greater freedom could people have than living in a sovereign country with no centralized government? Ancient Israel basked in freedom liberated from slavery by God. They lived in the Promised Land, governed by God through perfect laws administered by a system of Judges. It was the freest nation the world had ever known. And, irony of ironies, they demanded a King. They wanted to return to slavery.
Much like Israel, America began with a set of checks and balances to prevent the common abuses of a centralized government. Why? Because the founders knew that all men are sinners, even leaders. With power comes abuse so any nation that desires justice must recognize the supremacy of God.
No nation ever had such freedom as ancient Israel, because no nation had ever had such a God. Today, if America values her freedom, America must first value her God!
Until next time,
Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati
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